Friday, February 7, 2014

Promotions & appointments at National Instruments!

National Instruments has announced the promotion of leaders in sales and R&D to continue to drive company growth and execute on short- and long-term strategies.

Francis Griffiths
NI has promoted Francis Griffiths to the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Regional Sales and Marketing to continue to drive global sales alignment and growth. He will report to Eric Starkloff, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing.

Due to the untimely passing of Phil Hester in September 2013, NI also promoted Scott Rust to Senior Vice President of Research and Development. Scott will be responsible for driving product execution, leading the team of R&D Vice Presidents and their worldwide organisations and working with the Chief Platform Officer, Duncan Hudson, to guide the evolution of the company’s product platforms and lead the R&D fellows.

“Providing engineers and scientists with tools to accelerate innovation, productivity and discovery is NI’s primary goal, and these leadership changes support driving growth and innovation to support this goal,” said Dr. James Truchard, NI President, CEO and Cofounder. “The contributions of these experienced NI leaders have been instrumental in helping propel innovation and drive company growth, and I look forward to their continued leadership.”

New technical cybersecure member!

Codenomicon, a Finnish cybersecurity company, has joined ISCI as a technical member.

Codenomicon brings to ISCI (ISA Security Compliance Institute) a wealth of experience in detecting software vulnerabilities. Much of today’s protocol testing foundations are based upon work done in the late 1990s by researchers at VTT and the University of Oulu in Finland. Founders at Codenomicon, Ari Takanen, Rauli Kaksonen and Mikko Varpiola, were all participants in ground-breaking and foundational research in software vulnerability testing.

“Codenomicon is passionate about securing critical infrastructure and our values align with ISCI’s mission,” stated Mike Ahmadi, Codenomicon’s Global Director of Energy and ICS Security. “We are enthusiastic about participating in ISCI’s programs and initiatives and proud to have our cybersecurity test platform included in ISASecure ™ programs.”

Codenomicon specializes in identifying unknown software bugs. Its products, the Unknown Vulnerability Management (UVM) tools, offer software developers a simple process to ensure security and robustness in their products.

“Codenomicon’s staff includes some of the most knowledgeable cybersecurity experts in the industry,” said Andre Ristaino, Managing Director of the ISA Security Compliance Institute. “We are grateful for their contributions.”

Harting features new developments in industrial connectivity!

New developments in industrial connectivity being featured by Harting at Drives & Controls 2014 include new families of high-temperature connectors and devices with high mating cycles, plus interconnectivity products for smart network infrastructures and smart power systems within the industrial environment.

A major new development is the Han® HighTemp Series, which enables the reliable transmission of signals and power at temperatures up to 200°C in industrial environments. The design of the Han® HighTemp Series is based on Harting’s well-established Han® B and Han® E series with the addition of high-quality temperature-resistant materials and heat-resistant design applied to all components such as contacts, insulating materials, housing, seals and grounding elements. During development, the resistance of these components was verified in Harting’s in-house testing laboratory.

These high-temperature connectors offer significant savings in equipment design, manufacture and maintenance by removing the need to enclose machine parts which are exposed to high temperatures and clearing the way to modular plug-in designs. The resulting lower wiring complexity results in reduced maintenance costs, fewer outages and minimal down times.

Also featured is the Han® HMC industrial connector series, which combines the capability for more than 10,000 mating cycles with protection against harsh environmental conditions. The new connector family is designed for use in applications where equipment may be employed in different locations and can often be connected and disconnected several times a day. This situation is increasingly found in the automation environment, where the trend to modular and interchangeable machine tools and control systems requires connectors that can handle a large number of mating cycles.

Harting’s Han® HMC connectors are based on the Han® industrial connectors that have been tried and tested for decades, offering the additional benefit that all existing processing tools can also be used for the Han® HMC. The complete Han® HMC series consists of Han® B HMC housings, Han® HMC connector inserts with crimp connection in four different versions, Han® HMC crimp contacts in two sizes, a range of Han-Modular® modules together with the Han® HMC crimp contacts, and two different docking frames.

Han® HMC connector inserts contain high-performance grounding contacts, while the crimp contacts are equipped with a special HMC gold surface and constant spring force. These special properties guarantee the complete connector’s flawless function - even after 10,000 mating cycles.

New smart networking infrastructure products include the Ha-VIS mCon 3000 range of Ethernet switches, which enable the construction of complex and efficient network structures, and are optimised for use in harsh industrial environments. The high demands on reliability and safety in industrial settings mean that managed Ethernet switches need to become more efficient, and the new Harting switches address this challenge by offering high availability, network security, monitoring capabilities and high reliability.

Thanks to the integration of the PROFINET I/O device stack, the switches can be deployed and incorporated seamlessly into existing and newly planned PROFINET applications.

Customer-configurable 4G LTE cellular router!

Conel, a subsidiary of B&B Electronics, has expanded its family of rugged wireless communications routers with the 4G LTE LR77 v2 Cellular Router which takes advantage of the fast data transfer speeds (up to 100Mbit/s for download, 50 Mbit/s for upload) of the LTE cellular network. Built for industrial applications that demand speed, security and the ability to handle large data loads, the LR77 wirelessly connects M2M equipment and devices via an Ethernet interface 10/100 or a serial interface to the Internet or intranet. The unit offers multiple port configurations, a dual SIM card option, and either a plastic or metal casing. A wide operating range (-30 to 60 degrees C), DIN-Rail mounts, and automatic firmware updates allowing mass configuration of many routers simultaneously make the LR77 perfect for M2M connectivity in harsh or remote environments.

Applications that depend on secure wireless communications technology with performance and reliability at the very “edge” of networks would include: traffic and security camera systems, automatic teller machines (ATMs) and other self-service terminals, wind power plants, solar panels, oil/gas/water distribution networks and grids, and sensors that monitor geological, environmental and weather conditions.

Standard features on the 4G LTE LR77 Router include: one Ethernet 10/100 port, one USB host port, one digital input/output (I/O) port, and one SIM card. The unique dual SIM card option provides redundancy should one network fail, and enables users to proactively manage their data plan expenses between wireless carriers.

Customer-configurable interface options include:
Port 1 can be Ethernet 10/100, serial RS-232/RS-485/RS-422/MBUS, or I/O
Port 2 can be either serial RS-232/RS-485/RS-422/MBUS, or I/O
3 additional 10/100 Ethernet ports can be added with an optional port expansion board

The LR77 is configurable by a secure, password-protected web interface. It allows VPN tunnelling, using IPsec, OpenVPN and L2TP technologies to ensure safe communication. The web interface tracks the router’s activities, signal strength, and provides a detailed log. The cellular router supports DHCP, NAT, NAT-T, DynDNS, NTP, VRRP, HTTPS, SSH, OSPF, RIP, BGP control by SMS and more.

Diagnostic functions such as automatic inspection of PPP connections, automatic restart when connections are lost, and a hardware-monitoring “watchdog” ensure continuous communication. A special start-up script window is available for inserting Linux scripts for various actions.

Another key feature is the ability to create four different profiles/configurations in one router. This provides the option to switch between operating profiles, either remotely via SMS or locally via I/O, in order to perform tasks like diagnostics or alternative network configurations...

Conel’s routers are designed for “plug-and-play” simplicity. Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) technology allows automatic wireless firmware updates for mass configuration of many routers at once, eliminating the need for on-site technician visits. Conel can also develop user modules that modify router behaviour per customer requirements. A built-in SIM recognition driver recognizes the unit and configures the internal cellular modem automatically, simplifying integration.

Conel is manufacturing its 4G LTE LR77 Router for geographies where LTE networks exist; and is testing applications with customers where LTE is expected, but not yet available. Conel is also working with parent company B&B Electronics’ engineers to certify its entire portfolio of cellular routers and gateways to bring to North American customers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cooling solutions for the food and pharma industries !

Cooling solutions for industrial cabinets in corrosive and harsh production environments, such as the food, drinks and pharmaceuticals industries, must meet particularly strict requirements. For these industries Pentair now offers the  Hoffman WCHE series of air/water heat exchangers; these filterless cooling systems are completely closed to the outside environment, so neither dust nor water can enter, and do not pollute the surroundings with waste heat from the cabinet

As standard the units are supplied in powder-coated steel plate, but stainless steel versions are available on request. The WCHE series of heat exchangers use a supply voltage of 230 V and operate in an ambient temperature range of 5 to 70 °C, with an internal cabinet temperature of 10 to 50 °C. Cooling capacities range from 870 W to 12,500 kW, which is regulated by a magnetic valve in the water circuit. Integrated fans provide additional thermal protection. The Hoffman WCHE series of air/water heat exchangers are certified to NEMA type 12 (IP 55), CE and GOST (Russian Standard). UL-certified units are however also available.

The use of air/water heat exchangers does of course assume that a water supply is available. Should this not be the case in the production setting, an alternative form of cabinet cooling can be provided by air conditioners. Here Pentair recommends its Hoffman PROAIR series of air conditioners, which have been specially designed for use in corrosive and dusty environments or situations subject to spray water. Depending on the environment, these air conditioners are available as powder-coated versions in steel plate (IP 56) or in NEMA 4X stainless steel (IP 66).

These air conditioners feature the environmentally-friendly R134a refrigerant and robust compressors with an operating temperature range of -40 to +55 °C. The models are very compact and are available with various operating voltages (115, 230 and 460 V) and cooling capacities (400 to 2000 W). The optimal cooling capacity is supported by washable, reusable aluminum filters. Maintenance of these units is also extremely simple; the front cover offers rapid access to all components, and the fins of the condenser can be cleaned while the unit remains fitted in the housing. This area is provided with a special coating that is on the one hand dirt-repellent and on the other hand can also withstand corrosive environments.

Pat testers!

Two new portable appliance tester models, the Fluke 6200-2 and Fluke 6500-2 PAT Testers have been introduced by Fluke to verify the electrical safety and operation of portable appliances in accordance with the latest relevant guidelines and regulations. These units replace the Fluke 6200 and 6500 models. With powerful auto test capabilities (6500-2) and simplified controls they increase the number of tests that can be performed per day without compromising results. The new 6500-2 offers better display visibility, 250V insulation testing, a 110V test capability and a new test capability for RCD protected appliances.

Rugged, compact and lightweight, the manual Fluke 6200-2 and automatic Fluke 6500-2 are efficient to work with and easy to carry around. Both models perform all the tests for class I and class II appliances. The 6200-2 is ideal for low volume applications, while the 6500-2 is a powerful instrument to test large numbers of appliances.

The fully automatic Fluke 6500-2 PAT tester offers pre-set and user-programmable test sequences which are initiated from a single button – speeding up test procedures and reducing time on site. It features an integral QWERTY keyboard for rapid data entry (or optional Fluke barcode scanner) plus a new large backlit colour dot matrix display for showing informative Help screens and detailed data formats. A USB flash drive stick provides back-up of the internal memory and speedy transfer to a PC.

The Fluke 6200-2 PAT Tester greatly simplifies manual testing by incorporating a dedicated key for each test sequence, and provides a cost-effective solution for lower volume requirements. Pre-set pass/fail levels help save time when carrying out the tests. This model has an internal memory and a large backlit alphanumeric display for easy reading.

Both models offer 25A and 200mA earth bond tests, insulation test, touch current test, substitute current test, load/leakage test, PELV test, IEC lead test and extension lead testing. They feature a built-in carrying handle and conform to safety standard EN61010, while weighing only around 3kg. They are supplied with a separate protective hard carrying case which has extra storage space for accessories. Included in the case are test leads, a test probe, a crocodile clip, user manual and, (6500-2 only), a USB stick and lead.

Various new replacement kits are also available such as the Fluke 6500-2 UK BASIC KIT which includes Fluke DMS 0702/PAT software to enable test results to be stored and printed quickly and easily by UUT or as a listing, with an export function for listings in text or Excel format; a Fluke EXTL100, an adapter that provides easy testing of extension leads; and a Fluke PASS560R, a reel of self-adhesive labels on which can be written the appliance ID and the next test due date.

AC Synchronous Gear Motors and DC Stepper Motors!

CLIFF Electronics has a very successful and growing business supplying AC Synchronous Gear Motors to OEMs in a wide variety of industries including office automation, healthcare, camera tilt and pivot mounts, labelling systems, gaming consoles, vending machines, servo-control, medical, laboratory and industrial systems.

This motor product range has now been expanded to include a greater range of speeds, from 1-100rpm, increased torques from 0.5-16 kgf/cm at typically 2 to 4W and a number of reversible motor models.

In addition the company has also increased their range of cost effective 6V, 12V and 24V DC Stepper Motors at which are commonly used in positioning and automation systems.

John Hall, General Manager of Cliff Electronics, comments; “Cliff specialises in supplying OEMs with many types of motors and gearboxes, including market leading brands such as Nidec Servo, to specific customer requirements.”

Where will heat treatment be in five years’ time?

The need to develop high quality, cost effective products is driving the Global Heat Treating Market to grow over 7% according to a new report on the Global Heat Treating Market 2012-2016, but where will heat treatment be in five years’ time? Kevin Robinson, Business Development Manager at Invensys Eurotherm offers his predictions for an industry undergoing a range of challenges as well as opportunities.

Kevin Robinson
Kevin explains, “There was a slowdown in innovation in heat treatment processing during the last recession as volumes dropped and the focus shifted to immediate costs and cashflow, but in recent years with new model introductions, the industry is increasingly looking to the future.”

Here, Eurotherm offers its predictions for heat treatment over the next five years:
  1. India, China and Singapore will continue to grow; the quality of their parts will be a key driver for greater penetration of heat treated, high value engineering products
  2. There will be a slow drift of aerospace manufacturing away from the traditional strongholds such as the US and UK
  3. Globally the de-skilling process in manufacturing will continue with companies relying more and more on automation and ‘expert’ systems for process control
  4. Usage of new materials that don’t require heat treatment and low distortion processes will continue to grow
  5. Smaller, lighter components will lead to smaller batch sizes and an increased requirement for smaller, energy efficient furnaces and controls
  6. An increase in the use of energy efficient heating and furnace technologies combined with improved control systems
Invensys Eurotherm provides furnace control solutions that enable customers to optimise the heat treatment furnace control process.  This reduces waste through increased accuracy of furnace control and specialist control algorithms, optimising energy and power usage and curtailing rework and reducing scrap by improving consistency and repeatability. 

The company’s top performing products in heat treatment include: 6000 series recording products, 3000 series controller programmers and nanodac.

• Eurotherm products are marketed in Ireland by Classic Technology!

Backlit capacitive switch module for OEM designs!

Stadium-IGT has announced a range of LED Backlit Capacitive Switch Modules for OEM Designers. The switches feature Stadium IGT’s innovative method of combining the benefits of capacitive switching with multi-colour area-specific backlighting which until now has only been available in custom designed HMI solutions.

20mm and 35mm versions are available suitable for mounting into panel thickness of up to 7.0mm and providing high brightness full RGB illumination of touch area with unmatched uniformity of Illumination. The solid state switch design has a non-latching output of 40mA maximum operating from a supply voltage of 6VDC to 28VDC. The 35mm version offers designers adjustable low, medium and high touch sensitivity to suit the application. The operating temperature of the switch modules is 0° to 50°C

Terry Moss, Sales and Marketing Director of Stadium-IGT, comments, “This new, off the shelf standard backlit switching solution allows panel designers to prototype and evaluate HMI designs without the need to develop custom capacitive sensors and backlighting.”

Stadium -GT is a leading manufacturer of bespoke control and status panels for many diverse applications including; professional audio and broadcast equipment, industrial systems, safety and alarm panels, marine monitoring equipment, defence, agriculture and building services and automation.

Company outlook from Managing Director!

AdoptSMT Outlook for the year 2014 by Erhard Hofmann, MD AdoptSMT Group Europe

"I started this outlook for 2014 before Christmas. Trying to finish it after the holidays I can confirm one thing: The New Year is starting as busy as the old one ended.

Productronica 2013 held in Munich last November was for us by far the best show ever (we had our own booth at every productronica show since 1995), kept us busy into the start of 2014 and raises our confidence that 2014 will bring another nice increase of business (even no-one will bet on future business growth any more like it was done before 2008).

Erhard Hofmann
We at AdoptSMT expect little changes to the trend we saw during 2013. There is no uniform market. Even comparable companies in the same geographic area and in the same industry segment can show different levels of success, one can expand, the other one be forced to reduce head count and machines in use.

"While these differences between our customers help our business in our pre-owned equipment market (we need both demand and supply) we expect to gain market share in the overall stable market of consumables, spares and tools. Our additional customers in 2014 will be in the situation as the ones were we could win during 2013: They have enough business so they needed parts and supplies but are not too busy to look for alternative suppliers who save them money without compromising on quality. During 2013 we managed to enter many additional accounts, also multinationals, with our range of AdoptSMT Premium Parts and also with many parts and supplies distributed under the suppliers’ brand names including Hover-Davis, Count On Tools, Nortec, Thermaltronics, JBC, Techspray and Indium Corporation. The basis for our growth of business was of course to keep our existing customers, which was the case with the exception of some customers in areas which still suffered from the banking crises (in the South East and South West of Europe).

"We do expect higher investments being done by our customers in 2014 compared to 2013. But what we see even more is the focus of them on optimizing the utilization of their existing equipment. This is where we see ourselves as their prime partner – we help them to keep their SMT lines running. This will have us continue the growth we already experienced in 2013.

"AdoptSMT want to wish all customers and suppliers a successful year 2014”.

Radio platforms

Ettus Research releases software defined radio platforms featuring Kintex-7 FPGA

Ettus Research part of National Instruments, has introduced the USRP X300 and USRP X310 high-performance, modular software defined radio (SDR) platforms. Both platforms combine two RF transceivers covering DC–6 GHz with up to 12 0 MHz bandwidth and a large user-programmable Kintex-7 FPGA. The USRP X300 and USRP X310 both feature multiple high-speed interface options, including PCI Express, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet and dual 1 Gigabit Ethernet and is available in in a convenient desktop or rack-mountable half-wide 1U form factor. The USRP Hardware Driver™ (UHD) architecture, common to all NI USRP™ (Universal Software Radio Peripheral) devices, provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use interface.

Developers can programmatically control the USRP with the UHD C++ API, or choose from a wide selection of third-party tools and software such as GNU Radio. The USRP X300 and USRP X310 use a flexible software ecosystem to deliver cost-effective, high-performance SDR solutions that help wireless system designers quickly create simple prototypes, develop complex systems and accelerate their wireless research.

Both the USRP X300 and USRP X310 leverage the Kintex-7 family of FPGAs from Xilinx. The USRP X300 uses the XC7K325T, and the USRP X310 is based on the larger XC7K410T. Kintex-7 FPGAs integrate up to 1,540 DSP48 slices operating in parallel so USRP users can deploy custom or third-party signal processing algorithms onto each device. Users can process data in real time using their own DSP algorithms such as filters, modulators/demodulators and coders/decoders. They can also access and control the wide range of peripherals available on each USRP, including the RF front ends.

“The USRP X310 and USRP X300 significantly extend the USRP product family to a new level in capability and processing power,” said Matt Ettus, Founder and President of Ettus Research. “Offering unprecedented levels of real-time signal processing power and RF bandwidth, the USRP X310 and USRP X300 can now address applications such as next generation 5G wireless standard prototyping, multichannel spectrum scanning and analysis and even active radar prototyping and development.” 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fast and efficient – the new 
CAN FD PC interfaces

Fast and efficient – the new 
CAN FD PC interfaces from HMS

Under the IXXAT brand, HMS is bringing a new CAN PC interface 
series for CAN FD to the market, supporting it with an extensive 
suite of drivers and tools.

With the new CAN-IB 500 and the CAN-IB 600, HMS offers two interface cards (passive/active) that support not only CAN but also the new CAN FD standard. Both cards are for the PCI Express standard. They have up to two CAN interfaces, which can be operated in either CAN or CAN FD modes. Galvanic isolation of the channels is optionally available.

The active CAN-IB 600 also has a built-in microcontroller, so it can even be used in applications with increased requirements for data preprocessing such as high-precision timestamps or active filtering of the messages to be sent from and received by the card.

The cards are supported by both the IXXAT Windows driver packages (VCI) and the real-time driver packages (ECI for Linux, RTX, Intime, QNX).
The IXXAT APIs for CANopen and SAE J1939 also support the new interfaces in CAN mode. For the analysis of CAN and CAN FD networks, HMS offers the IXXAT canAnalyser, a powerful Windows tool.

Classical CAN, with its eight bytes of payload data and a maximum transmission rate of 1 MBit/s, is part of a wide variety of applications, not least due to its favorable price and versatility. Applications that require the transmission of larger quantities of data, however, have had to move to other technologies until now, which is of course associated with higher costs.
Now, with its capacity of up to 64 bytes of payload data and a higher bit rate for payload transmission, CAN FD is eliminating the old limitations of CAN, making it attractive also for applications that have never been able to work with CAN.

Meeting cancelled due to nuclear summit fallout!

End user seminar rescheduled for autumn, other meetings to be held electronically

The Fieldbus Foundation has just announced the postponement of its 2014 General Assembly in Rotterdam due to travel and security restrictions associated with the upcoming Global Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague, NL (see our report Fieldbus for Netherlands 24/1/2014.)

Originally planned for March 25-28, the Fieldbus Foundation’s global FOUNDATION™ fieldbus end user seminar will be rescheduled for the fall of this year somewhere in Europe (location pending), while its End User Advisory Council (EUAC) meeting and business meeting will be conducted electronically on the original dates of March 26 and March 28, respectively. The EUAC session will be the first in a series of such meetings to be held electronically this year.

Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney explained the change of plans: "We were recently advised that the global community will be holding a major nuclear summit in The Hague during the same week as our General Assembly. The Dutch government has announced the highest level of security protocol for all modes of transportation to, from and within the tri-city region of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. As such, it was necessary for us to cancel our end user conference, relocate our board meeting and conduct a WebEx business meeting for the membership, which is required annually."

The Fieldbus Foundation's General Assembly offers an overview of FOUNDATION fieldbus developments across the globe. It includes updates by leading fieldbus experts on the latest advancements in fieldbus technology, as well as presentations by major end users who have installed FOUNDATION fieldbus in their industrial operations.

Multi-protocol wireless adaptor!

Yokogawa has developed a multi-protocol wireless adaptor that enables wired field instruments or analytical sensors to be used as ISA100 Wireless™ devices, and will release models in May and July that support communications based on the HART® and RS485 Modbus standards. To facilitate the introduction of field wireless systems in plants, Yokogawa plans to release additional models that will cover other standards.

Development background
Field wireless systems enable the field devices and the host-level monitoring, control, and other systems in a plant to communicate wirelessly with each other. They have numerous advantages such as allowing the placement of field instruments or analytical sensors in difficult-to-wire locations, eliminating the need for cables to connect devices, and costing less to install. In accordance with its “Wireless Anywhere” concept, Yokogawa is seeking to promote the plant-wide use of field wireless systems by developing ISA100 Wireless devices such as this multi-protocol wireless adaptor.

Product features
When the multi-protocol wireless adaptor is mounted on a wired field instrument or analytical sensor, the instrument or sensor is able to function as an ISA100 Wireless device. It may be used with any type of wired field instrument or analytical sensor commonly used in plants, including those used to monitor temperature, pressure, liquid level, or vibration, or to detect gas, and is compatible with both Yokogawa devices and devices from other vendors. By giving customers a greater range of field instruments and analytical sensors to choose from, Yokogawa expects that this multi-protocol wireless adaptor will greatly facilitate the introduction of field wireless systems.

The first two models are intended for wired HART and RS485 Modbus communications, both of which are widely used in plants. Yokogawa plans to release models that are compliant with other wired field communications standards such as FOUNDATION™ fieldbus and PROFIBUS.

The battery in the multi-protocol wireless adaptor can also power the field instrument or analytical sensor, eliminating the need for wiring. As with other Yokogawa field wireless devices, the multi-protocol wireless adaptor uses a large-capacity lithium-ion battery, and this is able to power both the multi-protocol wireless adaptor and the field instrument or analytical sensor for a long time. An indicator on the host system shows the estimated remaining days of battery life.

An all-weather model type that is waterproof and dustproof and an explosion-protection type that can be used in the presence of inflammable gases are scheduled to be released.

Major target markets include industries such as oil & gas, LNG, refining, petrochemicals, chemicals, power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, foods, and iron and steel.

• Yokogawa will demonstrate this multi-protocol wireless adaptor at the ARC Industry Forum to be held from the 10th to 13th February in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Safety monitoring software!

ACM Facility Safety has released SafeGuard Sentinel safety monitoring software to continuously measure, monitor and alert operations and management to process safety risks. The software also delivers contingency plans that can be executed immediately to address issues and reduce risk. By presenting real-time risk information and expert knowledge to make effective operational decisions, SafeGuard Sentinel helps prevent safety incidents, environmental infractions and downtime.

Bowtie Displays
SafeGuard Sentinel provides “Bowtie Displays” which convert pages of HAZOP data into a single, powerful, and easy to understand graphical visualization. This helps operators understand the full scope of each potential risk, and see the impact of each safeguard. All risks and mitigations are shown on bowtie visualizations which include:
·       Hazardous events
·       Root causes
·       Consequences
·       Preventative safeguards
·       Mitigative safeguards
·       Contingencies for safeguard failure
SafeGuard Sentinel enables plants to reduce risk and identify critical safeguards during operation, and it provides information on which to base strategic decisions, including monitoring of safety performance indicators up to a Board of Directors level.

SafeGuard Sentinel runs on a Windows-based server in a plant network, and can be accessed by any device capable of running a browser, including DCS workstations, operator terminals, tablets and smartphones.

The SafeGuard Sentinel server connects through OPC and ODBC, allowing it to gather information from a variety of systems including DCSes, PLCs and PACs from all major control system suppliers. Other sources of data typically include safety systems, historians, SCADA systems, maintenance systems, operator logbooks and workflow tracking systems.

Depending on the network setup, SafeGuard Sentinel can be hosted in the plant DMZ, which allows access at a business level. SafeGuard Sentinel only needs one-way communication from the various systems to gather data, thus preserving plant security.

SafeGuard Sentinel integrates data from these various systems to create an all-inclusive database of information including Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Studies and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA). SafeGuard Sentinel uses this information to provide situational analysis and contingency plans for process safety situations.

In real-time, SafeGuard Sentinel monitors plant conditions, detects unsafe conditions, and alerts operators. SafeGuard Sentinel also captures risk events and operator actions for immediate visualization and future analysis.

By comparing the real-time measured risk level with the designed level of risk, SafeGuard Sentinel provides quantitative, leading metrics showing changes in risk over time. Management can use SafeGuard Sentinel to see how process risk is changing, and can benchmark safety performance across process units or entire plants. Drawing upon information from sources such as maintenance and training records, SafeGuard Sentinel reveals risks that would normally be undetected.

Money-saving installation tester kits

Fluke is offering three money-saving 1652/3/4-TPOLEKIT installation tester kits with a free cabinet key in a promotion until 28th June 2014. The kits combine either a Fluke 1652C Installation Tester with a Fluke T110 two-pole tester, or a Fluke 1653B plus software plus a Fluke T130 two-pole tester, or a Fluke 1654B Installation Tester plus software plus a Fluke T150 two-pole tester, each kit also offering a free multifunction cabinet key/ screwdriver obtainable by registering on the Fluke web site after kit purchase.

The Fluke 1652C is the ideal tester for all domestic applications, covering all the basic needs for testing to the 17th Edition wiring regulations/ Part P of the building regulations. The Fluke 1653B is the ideal tester for professional troubleshooters working in both domestic and commercial applications. The Fluke 1654B is the complete tester for virtually all electrical wiring installations in domestic, commercial and industrial applications. The Fluke 1654B adds smooth DC-sensitive RCD type B testing for buildings equipped with solar panels and offers milliohm resolution for loop and line testing. Both the 1653B and 1654B offer internal memory for up to 1500 readings, provide extended data management capabilities and both come with Fluke DMS software which enables printing of professional documentation.

The Fluke T110, T130 and T150 2-pole testers have CAT III 690V, CAT IV 600V safety ratings providing a combination of safety, ease-of-use and rapid result finding. They all feature backlit LED voltage measurement indicators while the T130/150 also have backlit LCD displays with display-hold functionality. They all offer audible and vibration feedback of continuity, 3-phase rotation detection to determine phase sequence, a built-in torch, and enable remote tripping of RCDs to check they are wired correctly. The T150 also measures electrical resistance.

All three models of installation tester show two measurements at once on a dual display. This can show PEFC/PSC and loop impedance results in parallel negating the requirement to run the tests separately, more than halving the test time of some loop testers. They also feature a high-current loop test which gives extremely fast measurements when testing in circuits where no RCDs are being used. They offer both non trip and the high current test so the user can select depending on the application. In addition there is fast voltage measurement between L-N, L-PE and N-PE using the mains cord, with no need to change measurement connections.

There is a PASS/FAIL indication for RCD test results, and a variable RCD current mode for customised settings. Requiring no separate batteries, a slim probe with test button supplied with the testers enables initiation of a test without the need to access or reference to the front panel when probing hard to reach points. An Earth Volt Touchpad detects earth voltages raised above 50V to indicate potentially dangerous situations.

The Fluke Installation Testers are compact, lightweight (less than 1.2 kg) and have a padded neck-strap to free testers’ hands for testing. For ease of use, a rotary dial clearly indicates which function is selected, and provides access to all functions in one place to avoid complex multi-level menus, so that even after a long period of non-use the tester remains intuitive to use. A large display with backlight uses clear symbols and has an exceptionally wide viewing angle for easy and safe readings. They have detachable standard 4-mm leads that can be replaced if damaged or lost, and require no customised special connectors. A Zero Adapter ensures easy, reliable and accurate test lead and mains cord compensation. The adapter can be used for all kinds of mains plugs and test accessories like probes and alligator clips.

Food and pharma symposium!

The conference program for the ISA 2014 Food and Pharmaceuticals Industries Division (FPID) Symposium will feature some of the world’s most accomplished experts in serialization and automation who will speak on the pressing issues affecting food and drug manufacturers and distributors.

2014 ISA FPID Symposium, which will be held 5-6 March 2014 at ISA headquarters in North Carolina (USA), will learn—directly from these industry leaders—how to respond to emerging serialization requirements that are driving major changes in food and pharmaceuticals distribution and calling for highly coordinated strategies that incorporate automation, supply chain management, and information analysis and security.

“We are immensely pleased to have assembled such an outstanding lineup of speakers, experts and presentations at this valuable industry event,” reports  Dennis Brandl, President of BR&L Consulting, Inc., co-chair of the 2014 FPID Symposium. “The challenges facing the food and pharmaceuticals industries are serious and they require a serious examination of the issues. Recent legislation and incidents of contamination and tampering have raised the importance of automation to reduce errors and implement enhanced serialization controls to improve tracking and tracing throughout distribution channels.

“This symposium will provide the essential insights and recommendations—relating to technology, systems, production, logistics, process control, validation, traceability, data access and analysis, cybersecurity and other critical areas—that food and pharmaceuticals manufacturers and distributors need to improve patient safety and reduce operating risks.”

Among the prominent experts and incisive presentations scheduled on the 2014 FPID conference agenda are:

Attendees of the
  • Peter Martin, Ph.D., vice president of business value solutions for the Software and Industrial Automation division of Invensys, presenting “Applying Control Theory to the Real-Time Value Chain”
  • Janice Abel, group analysis and principal consultant at ARC Advisory Group, presenting “Getting Smarter with Big Data, Analytics and Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence”
  • Bryan Singer, principal investigator, Industrial Network/Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity at Kenexis Security Corporation, presenting “Building on Device Vulnerabilities: Attack Mode for ICS”
  • Marcus Massingham, I.Eng, MIET, director, Automation/IT at GlaxoSmithkline, presenting “Serialization: An Enterprise Perspective”
  • Wendy Haines, Ph.D., validation specialist at Mangan Biopharm; and Amy Lineberry, CPIP, validation engineer at Mangan Biopharm; presenting “Lifecycle Approach to Serialization Process Qualification”
  • Baha Korkmaz, PMP, senior vice president, North America at Enterprise System Partners, presenting “Serialization: A Business Perspective”
  • Dennis Brandl, president at BR&L Consulting, presenting “Business-to-Shop Floor Integration: The Critical Link in Serialization”
  • Jorge Rodriquez, PE, president and CEO of PACIV, presenting “Harmonization of C&Q and CSV Initiatives”
  • Desmond Savage, managing director at ATS Applied Tech Systems, presenting “Food Safety and Traceability: MES as an Enabler”
  • Dave Adler, PE, automation project management, planning and workforce development expert at Brillig System, and Raymond Teaster, owner and director at Brillig System, presenting “Successfully Managing Automation Projects”
  • Tim Mathany, president of ECS Solutions, presenting “ISA-88 Model-Based Control in the Food Industry”
  • Mike Baldauff, engineer at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, presenting “Evaluating Virtualization of a Control System for Use in Production”
  • Lee White, project engineer at Avid Solutions, presenting ”Automation System Design Practices”
  • Adam Fermier, scientific director at Johnson & Johnson, presenting “Transforming Data into Information: An Engineering Approach”
  • Ron Guido, retired vice president of Global Brand Protection and Supply Chain Integrity at Johnson & Johnson, presenting “Confessions of a Counterfeiter”
  • Bob Lenich, director of Global Syncade Sales at Emerson Process Management, presenting on Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
  • Greg Stromberg, process analytics manager at Biogen IDEC, presenting “The Benefits of Modern Data Analysis Techniques in Process Development and Production Scale Cell Culture Processes”
  • John Hamel, regional manager at Parsec Automation, and Steve Monaghan, PE, operations manager at Applied Control Engineering, presenting “Why Overall Equipment Effectiveness Isn’t Enough”
  • Bill Minaeff, sales manager at Laetus, presenting “Serialization in the Pharma Industries”
  • Marc Blekkink, managing director at Ninety-Five, and Guido Rijcken, managing director at Inxites Americas, presenting “ISA-95 Based Data Repository in a Serialization System Landscape”

In addition to benefiting from the stellar conference sessions, 2014 FPID Symposium attendees will tour a local plant to examine specific automation processes in practice.

New multi-featured counter module adds flexible counting capability to CPX systems

Festo has the latest addition to its well-established CPX Modular Automation Platform, the CPX-2ZE2DA-PI Counter Module. System builders can now incorporate counting capability simply by plugging a CPX Counter Module directly into their CPX system; this eliminates the need for an external counter and the associated costs it would present in terms of hardware and software integration effort, space requirement, cabling and installation time.

Once installed, the Counter Module’s high I/O, operational mode and parameterization flexibility allows engineers and machine builders to set up sophisticated counting applications with minimal effort. These can be implemented directly on the CPX system with a wide range of plant sensors and actuators far more rapidly than was previously possible.

Counter module incorporated into CPX modular platform
This CPX platform is a complete automation solution that integrates a wide choice of pneumatic and electrical, analogue and digital I/O. CPX systems configured for specific requirements are delivered pre-built, tested and ready for installation, enabling system integrators to meet tight timeframes and budgets. For additional flexibility, the CPX platform can operate as either a self-contained industrial PLC, or as a local unit on a Fieldbus or Industrial Ethernet-based distributed system. In addition, a wide choice of I/O and connector modules makes interfacing to process sensors and actuators easy. 

The CPX Counter Module has two channels, allowing compact and cost-effective solutions for applications with multiple sensors. Each channel accepts most 24 V and 5 V pulse and single-ended or differential incremental encoders, as well as SSI absolute types; this facilitates a wide range of length, position, speed and angular position measurement applications. A direction signal, or 90˚ phase shift inputs, on each channel allow extraction of direction information for incremental encoders. Count continuously, count once and periodic count modes at 24 V and 5 V levels are supported with pulse count frequencies to 1 MHz.

Output functions are also well supported; these include configurable 24 V digital, pulse, pulse train, pulse-width modulation (PWM), On/Off control with delay and frequency output to 20 kHz. In addition, by pairing the Counter channels 24 V DC motors can be controlled.
The Counter Module has features to improve the quality of its results. These include hysteresis to overcome encoder fluctuations, and limit monitoring and diagnostics. For ease of use and added flexibility, parameterisation of each channel for its input and output connections and functionality can be managed via a laptop using Festo’s free to download FMT software, as are commissioning and diagnostics.

IP-rated CPX systems using the Counter Module can be mounted directly onto the machine being controlled rather than relegated to a cabinet, as the module can achieve IP65-rated ingress protection with an optional cover. This allows engineers to design more compact, reliable and cost-effective systems with reduced cabling requirements. The module features Festo’s new push-in connection technology, which makes connection to the counters’ inputs and outputs quick and easy.

The Counter Module is designed for applications within the packaging, drive engineering, process, food & drink, mechanical engineering and other industries. One example concerns rotary or in-line filling machines of up to 18 nozzles each with flowmeters for accurate volume dispensing. The Counter Module counts the flowmeter pulses and controls outputs to the nozzle shut-off valves. Other examples include fast, bus- and control-independent reactions for controlling fast-switching valves, valve opening times and direction changing for fast drives, and pulse-width modulation control for thermostat temperature settings, drive speed and lamp brightness.

“These Counter Modules add an easily-installed, compact and highly functional counting capability to CPX systems,” said Jacqui Hanbury, Product Manager at Festo GB. “In line with the CPX’s Functional Integration philosophy, the modules connect directly to encoders without need for A/D converters and associated wiring. Parameterisation is also performed simply and quickly. Overall, this means that CPX users in a wide variety of applications can start benefiting from the Counter Module’s considerable flexibility with minimal disruption or delay.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Flood Risk Management Conference!

We have commented elsewhere on how we have been affected by the adverse weather buffeting Ireland since the turn of the year. Mercifully we ourselves have not had the problem of the ingress of water into our office or home but this has not been the case in many other districts. Cork city and county is a place well used to the inundation of tidal waters and this conference ought to be helpful not only to local authorities in South Munster but to local authorities in other regions of the country who have and indeed are still experiencing unprecidented conditions.

Cobh & Harbour Chamber is holding a Conference on the issue of Flood Risk Management at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island, Cork on the 7th February 2014. This an extremely important issue which effects many of the people of Cork City and County and will cover various aspects of Flood Risk Management - planning, environment, insurance, impact on community and business. Minister of State Brian Hayes will deliver the opening address and the conference consists of 6 prestigious speakers:

·       John Martin, Flood Risk Assessment & Management, OPW.
·       Eamonn Walsh, Senior Drainage Engineer, Cork City Council.
·       Senan Colleran, Hydro Mananger, ESB.
·       Tadhg O’Leary, Retailer, Blackpool.
·       David Keane, Cork County Engineer.
·       Eamonn Downey, Insurance Institute of Ireland.

Friday 7th February 2014 9.00 am - 4.00 pm
Radisson Blu Hotel,
Little Island, Cork.
Price: €75
To book call the Chamber Office Tel. 021-4813612

9.00 Registration
9.30 Brian Hayes TD Minister of State, OPW
9.50 John Martin Flood Risk Assesment & Managment, OPW
10.30 Eamonn Walsh Senior Drainage Engineer, Cork City Council
11.00 Break for Tea & Coffee
11.30 Senan Colleran Hydro Manager, ESB
12.10 Tadhg O’Leary Retailer, Blackpool, Co. Cork
12.40 Questions & Answers
13.00 Break for Lunch
14.15 David Keane Cork County Engineer
15.00 Eamonn Downey Insurance Institute of Ireland
15.30 Questions & Answers
16.00 Conference ends

How to buy a LIMS!

Autoscribe is running a series of three free ‘How to Buy a LIMS’ webinars on 26th March, 23rd April and 28th May 2014. With over 60 years of practical management experience specifying and delivering successful LIMS solutions to any laboratory in any industry, Autoscribe has designed these webinars to provide information that will help keep anyone considering purchasing a LIMS on track, avoid some of the pitfalls and find the right solution to fit the specific needs.

Suitable for both those purchasing their first Laboratory Information Management System and those replacing an existing LIMS, the webinars divide the subject into three sessions to cover the complete process. The first webinar covers the initial LIMS requirement assessment, gathering information on different systems and the different types of software available.

The second session features the best ways of actually making a selection, and factors that need to be considered such as risk management, on-going support & maintenance and calculating return on investment. The final session examines the importance of configurability in a LIMS and what configurability can achieve.

New mapping: asynchronous and synchronous motors #PAuto

CAN in Automation (CiA) has released the CiA 402-5 specification. It defines a new mapping for Process Data Objects (PDO) suitable for CANopen devices, which are able to control asynchronous as well as synchronous motors. This takes into account that suppliers integrate position control and sequence control into one unit. For the user this not only convenient but also avoids the need of two configuration tools.

The first PDO is used to control the drive’s state machine and to confirm the state change request. The second PDO contains additionally the target position respectively the current position, and the third provides the target velocity or the current velocity. All these PDOs are predefined. The CAN identifiers are assigned automatically depending on the setting of the node-ID.

CANopen is one of the most used communication interfaces for servomotors. The internationally standardized CiA 402 drive and motion control profile (IEC 61800-7-201/301) specifies the CANopen interface for inverters, servo drives, and stepper motors. “With this PDO mapping superset, the user can control with the very same device asynchronous as well as synchronous motors,” explained Holger Zeltwanger, CiA’s managing director. “There is no need to configure the PDOs.”

EC fan-and-filter units!

Rittal offers a more energy efficient means of ventilating enclosures by supplying electronically commutated (EC) versions of the successful TopTherm fan-and-filter unit, in all but the very smallest size.

Using the same diagonal fan technology as the standard variant, Rittal’s TopTherm EC fan-and-filter unit provides improved performance against static pressure, offering a more constant air throughput and energy savings in excess of 60 percent over previous models. Compliance with ongoing energy efficiency guidelines can be met and exceeded by using EC motors. Intelligent control and fan status monitoring is available for larger units.

Direct monitoring of fan speed is via a tacho-signal output with a malfunction or failure signal, prompting immediately action, minimising the risk of component failure in the enclosure.
Infinitely variable speed control offers a means of conserving energy further by operating the fan at a speed determined by the demand for cooling. A programmable logic controller (PLC) may be used to control the fan motor, via a 0-10V DC or pulse width modulated (PWM) signal.

A sensor that controls the speed of the EC motor by comparison of the actual temperature with a fixed setpoint of 35 °C, will increase the fan speed to produce a cooling effect as the temperature approaches the setpoint, will soon be available from Rittal.

Fibre optic technology for on board railway applications!

Souriau has extended its portfolio with railway fibre optics connectors. Based on its standard railway product ranges VGE1 and 838 series, the fibre optic layouts use ELIO® contact technology, in operation worldwide on aircrafts for more than 10 years. VGE1 ELIO and 838 ELIO allow the use of fibre optics for on-board or track railway applications, and are the only optical connectors on the market to be approved by the French national railway operator, SNCF, for on-board application.

Safety and customer service are of utmost importance to the railway industry. Fast-response train control systems, accurate power monitoring as well as new entertainment applications like passenger real-time information, broad-band web access, or high definition video-monitoring are requiring ever increasing data transfer rates. Fibre optics, already a field-proven technology in harsh applications like aeronautics, oil & gas production or military vehicles, is the solution to meet these new needs. Over the past years, fibre optic cables have been utilized in railway signaling along tracks for long distance transmission as well for high data rate needs since they are not affected by electro-magnetic interferences. Now that Ethernet has become a standard for on-board communication, rolling stocks tends to embed more and more fibre optic connectivity, even in the harshest locations, such as inter-vehicle. Weight saving is also a big concern for train manufacturers, and in this regard, the use of fibre optic cables is a definite advantage.

Souriau's VGE1 ELIO bayonet-lock connector is available in three different layouts and shell sizes – four ELIO® contacts, eight ELIO® contacts and 12 ELIO® contacts. A two-contact version will eventually be released. These connectors are robust enough to be fitted on train roofs, under train bodies or just about anywhere else on the outside of trains.

The 838 ELIO® connector features a screw lock and an 8-contact layout. A 24-contact version, designed specifically for inter-vehicle connections, will be released in a few months. Both the VGE1 ELIO and the 838 ELIO® may also be used for track applications.

ELIO® is an innovative optical contact, combining simplicity of use and a high reliability level. ELIO® is very easy to implement, to terminate (unclear) and to clean. It is compatible with single mode, multimode, and plastic fibre and provides reliable optical performances in extreme environments.

Combined with highly ruggedized and railway qualified connectors, ELIO®´s fibre optic technology is the solution to handle the most stringent environmental and mechanical conditions, like damped heat, extreme temperatures, vibration at low frequency as well as shocks, hundreds of mating cycles, and exposure to typical railway fluids and lubricants.

ELIO®´s fibre optic technology successfully meets railway standards for a reliable and easy-to-use connectivity solution and gives confidence to operators as well as train and equipment manufacturers.

Electric motors in Europe: Market analysis!

In Europe, industrial electric motors are responsible for consuming about 70 percent of the energy produced, making them one of the most widely used electrical loads across all industries. The overall power consumption by a motor over its lifespan also accounts for about 85 percent of its lifetime costs. Realizing this, end users are looking to reduce energy consumption and operational costs by replacing old motors with more energy-efficient ones. Along with the upcoming Phase 2 of motor energy efficiency regulations (640/2009/EC), these factors are expected to sustain the growth of the Western European electric motors market.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Western European Electric Motors Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $5.16 billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach €4.41 billion (US$5.94b) in 2017. The research covers fractional horse power and integral horse power (IHP) motors.

The first phase of the EU energy-efficiency directive was implemented in 2011. The second phase, which requires induction motors with a power output range between 7.5 kW and 375 kW to meet the IE3 standard or alternatively satisfy the IE2 standard and be equipped with a variable frequency drive, is expected to be in place by 2015.

“This means that end users, who need to replace their old and obsolete motors, will be forced to purchase IE2 or IE3 energy-efficient motors that cost 25 to 37 percent more than IE1 or less energy-efficient motors,” said Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst Abhinav Nagial. “While the sales of higher priced IE3 class induction motors are expected to boost revenues, the economic scenario might dampen market potential.”

The recent economic downturn and the ongoing debt crisis across European economies have slowed down industrial activity. Stagnation in large commercial mining, construction, ship building, chemical and petrochemicals projects have especially decreased the demand for medium voltage IHP motors. Although the steps taken by the EU to tackle the debt crisis are encouraging recovery, it is unequal across different countries in Western Europe.

Another challenge for the region’s electric motors market is the lack of funding from private and public institutions as key end-user segments including chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas and process industries depend on credit availability for implementing new projects. End users in Italy and Spain are particularly reluctant to invest as they face high unemployment rates and political uncertainty.

“Given these challenges, manufacturers of electric motors should charge competitive prices and offer value-added services to differentiate themselves from the competition,” opined Nagial. “Strategic pricing of higher-efficiency motors will be especially important to succeed in the Western European marketplace.”

Monday, February 3, 2014

Looking inside your plant process!

Next April, Yokogawa will begin offering new solutions for optimising plant operations in the oil & gas, petrochemical, and other industries. These solutions will be provided as part of their VigilantPlant Services® suite to support safe, stable, and highly efficient plant operations. The technology underlying these solutions is Yokogawa’s newly developed MIRROR PLANT online simulator.


MIRROR PLANT was developed based on the OmegaLand integrated dynamic simulation environment and its core technology, the Visual Modeler plant simulator. OmegaLand and Visual Modeler are software packages that were developed by Yokogawa’s subsidiary, Omega Simulation Co., Ltd. OmegaLand builds virtual plants and simulates their operation under conditions that are close to the actual state. These are used for plant operator training and process design in the oil & gas and petrochemical industries.
The MIRROR PLANT simulator can visualise the internal state of a plant process and make near-term predictions on plant behaviour. An industry first, this simulator operates in synchronisation with the plant control system and features the good performance required in commercial plants.

Development background
In recent years, there has been increasing focus on improving plant safety and strengthening competitiveness by making plants more efficient. For example, in the chemical industry, plant operators need, in real time, to manage or adjust the state of catalysts and the composition of the reagents and product materials in a chemical reactor, to optimise both plant productivity and product quality. However, many of the process variables are difficult to measure or cannot be measured directly. Based on actual process information such as flow rate, temperature, and pressure, simulation technology can make predictions on items that cannot be measured in real time: for example, the amount of each component in a product, and thus simulate the state of a plant. By means of high-speed calculations, the simulator can make near-term predictions on the state of a plant. Operators can then anticipate events and take action earlier to ensure safe operation.

Yokogawa and its subsidiary, Omega Simulation Co., Ltd., jointly developed the MIRROR PLANT online plant simulator. It operates in synchronisation with the plant control system and constantly updates a process model. Based on this simulator, Yokogawa will offer support solutions that help its customers optimise their plant operations.

The MIRROR PLANT simulator operates in synchronisation with the plant control system. Based on real-time manufacturing process information and using a proprietary function for adjusting model parameters, it precisely simulates the state of a plant. By using plant models, the simulator visualises the current state of the plant, the state of the plant up to several hours in the future, and the state at plant locations where it is not possible to measure temperature or pressure. It then displays these results on screen at a CENTUM VP integrated production control system operator terminal or at a standard PC. MIRROR PLANT also has an alarm function that can alert operators to potential problems. As such, this solution can help Yokogawa’s customers operate their plants safely and efficiently while maintaining product quality.

Yokogawa offers consulting and engineering services for building the simulation models that are key to MIRROR PLANT’s effectiveness. Yokogawa’s highly experienced process control engineers provide customers with these services. The simulation models used in MIRROR PLANT are based not on statistical data from plant operations, but on physical laws. Thus, processes can be theoretically verified, and the simulator can be used for a broad range of applications such as identifying problems in a process. The optimum operating conditions can then be identified before making changes to items such as the production volume or the feed material composition. Based on MIRROR PLANT, Yokogawa offers these services to help its customers optimise their plant operations.

A field test of MIRROR PLANT was conducted from 2011 to 2013 at a plant of Mitsui Chemicals, Inc., and the results showed that it efficiently stabilised and optimised the operation of a distillation tower. As a result, MIRROR PLANT won the Technology Award from the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers (SICE), which commended this innovative technology for boosting plant productivity and safety.

Approved for automation products!

Ocean Data Systems has announced that Mitsubishi Electric has approved Dream Report as part of its e-F@ctory Alliance Program for use with its full line of automation products.

Participation in the Mitsubishi Electric e-F@ctory Alliance Program will enable Ocean Data Systems to test and support Dream Report with Mitsubishi Electric products. This collaboration will help ensure that our joint customers receive proven solutions to enhance their automation systems. Mitsubishi Electric will also be listed in the Dream Report "Proven Partner" program. Together, we've verified the integration of our products and commit to working together to deliver the highest quality solutions today, and migration paths for tomorrow.

"Mitsubishi Electric has a very wide range of technologies and Dream Report is an excellent solution for turning data from its systems into compliance and performance reports," explained Roy Kok, vice president of sales and marketing for Ocean Data Systems. "Dream Report offers a wide range of connectivity options from standards such as OPC, ODBC and OLE-DB, to proprietary interfaces specific to a product. Dream Report can directly interface with most Mitsubishi products today, and additional drivers will be added over time, based on customer demand."

"Dream Report is an excellent addition to our e-F@ctory Alliance Program and customers can benefit from the data analysis and information delivery that it offers in conjunction with the data collection capabilities of our hardware. The e-F@ctory Alliance Program includes a select group of companies that are strategic to enhancing our automation strategy," explained Robert Miller, senior manager of strategic collaborations and partnerships for Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc. "Dream Report is widely used in industry and we are happy to support its use in Mitsubishi Electric applications."

Managed Ethernet switches are optimised for industrial environments!

The new managed Ha-VIS mCon 3000 Ethernet switches from Harting enable the construction of complex and efficient network structures, and are optimised for use in harsh industrial environments.

The high demands on reliability and safety in industrial settings mean that managed Ethernet switches need to become more efficient, and these switches address this challenge by offering high availability, network security, monitoring capabilities and high reliability.

Thanks to the integration of the PROFINET I/O device stack, the switches can be deployed and incorporated seamlessly into existing and newly planned PROFINET applications.

In addition to RSTP (Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol), the new switches also incorporate the Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP) to create redundant topologies. Reduced cycle times and faster processes necessitate the synchronisation of participants in plants. The Precision Time Protocol (PTP Version 2, IEEE 1588) provides the highest possibly accuracy, and is also supported by the new mCon 3000 switches.